Culture Consumption: September 2015

Happy October! The year may be flying by, but really, October is my favorite month. Fall arrives, Halloween, and my birthday, all in one month! But before I get too carried away with October, let’s look back and see what kind of goodies I consumed in September, which, for the record, wasn’t a bad month at all! So without further adieu, here is the Culture Consumption for September (spoiler alert: I read lots of books!).

Rory the Furiously Happy Racoon!Books

Look at all the books I read! So what if one of them was an illustrated children’s book? I can’t say no to Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader series, because it’s freaking adorable. But the rest of the month was packed with favorites, and I enjoyed everything. Specifically, Jenny Lawson’s follow-up to the hysterically awesome Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. Furiously Happy came along right when I needed it, and I have no shame in reading the book on an airplane and trying to stifle my giggles. I’m sure the girl who sat next to me thought I was crazy, and you know what? That’s a-okay with me!

34) Darth Vader and Friends by Jeffrey Brown
35) A Rose-Red Chain by Seanan McGuire
36) The End of All Things by John Scalzi
37) Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
38) Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Binti-Nnedi-OkoraforShort Fiction

Something about traveling unleashes a desire to burn through some short fiction, so there’s a few titles under my belt this month. McGuire’s was a bittersweet coda to her Jonathan & Fran stories set in the InCryptid universe. Vaughn’s self-published novella was a fun field-trip into the Kitty Norville series (which, if I’d known that sooner, I would’ve read the novella a long time ago!. The star here is Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti, which was a fascinating story that invites a re-read, which I hope to do during the Hugo nomination period next year.

7) The Star of New Mexico by Seanan McGuire
8) Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
9) Paranormal Bromance by Carrie Vaughn

<center>Art by Phil Noto</center>
Art by Phil Noto

Comics

My comic book TBR is stupid big. It makes me want to stop reading comics and just collect the hardcovers of the series I really, really love. But then how would I discover new titles? At any rate, I got through a few favorite titles, and explored a new Star Wars one, because despite my promise not to read anything that takes place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. I couldn’t resist Phil Noto’s glorious cover art, nor the fact the main character shares my first name.

Batgirl #43
Jem and the Holograms #6
Ms. Marvel #18
Sex Criminals #11
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1

creep-poster-600x900Movies

The hubby and I finished up our Daniel Craig/Bond marathon in preparation for Spectre, and now we’re starting a Hunger Games one in preparation for the last movie. Also notable was the fact I saw Stand By Me for the first time. Creep was also a delightful little find. Horror movie buffs may see the twist coming a mile away, but I did enjoy some of the guessing games the movie provided as the story unfolded.

* = repeat viewing

Creep
Quantum of Solace*
Skyfall*
Stand By Me
The Hunger Games*

The-Knick-Poster-CinemaxTelevision Shows

September still had me in a Hannibal-induced hangover, but my husband introduced me to The Knick, which is a fascinating period piece about surgery in the early 1900s starring Clive Owen. I’m very excited for season two, despite the fact that watching those surgeries in 10 episodes grossed me out FAR more than three whole seasons of murder-tableaux in Hannibal. Also finally got around to watching the first series of Sherlock, which was good and enjoyable, but a wee bit pale in the wake of the Hannibal hangover.

* = repeat viewing

Seinfeld Season 7
The Knick Season 1
Sherlock Series 1


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2015 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

8 thoughts on “Culture Consumption: September 2015

  1. Books in September:
    1. Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino
    2. Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
    3. The Woman Upstairs By Claire Messud
    4. Clay’s Quilt by Silas House
    5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
    6. Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? by Rhoda Janzen
    7. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
    8. Horns by Joe Hill
    9. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

    I liked The Woman Upstairs, although part of that may be due to my fears of becoming a creepy spinster. The writing was good but I thought the ending was bad. Horns was good and I think Joe Hill brings something new and innovative to the horror genre. I plan to read more of his stuff. Some of the stories in Safe as Houses were great and some fell a little flat. I love the one were the couple go to dinner with the idealized versions of each other. I thought the one with the keepsake burglar was entirely too short. I often have this problem with short stories because I almost feel like it’s cheating to come up with a weird, wacky, great idea and only use it for a ten page story instead of having the guts to try to sustain it over the course of a novel. I technically finished Furiously Happy in October but I laughed so hard I started choking on the exercise bike.

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    1. I feel your pain with the short stories. Some of those needed to be developed a wee bit more. But overall, it was a good collection. I’m behind on my Joe Hill reading, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read. And yes, FURIOUSLY HAPPY for the WIN.

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  2. My kindle was stolen this month, so until I got a replacement, I was reading books off my very large non-electronic TBR pile. It does mean I’ve officially met my TBR goal for the year, though I’ll be reading a few more before the end of the year.

    New books:

    1. Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn. 3 stars. For my local book club.
    2. Speak Easy, by Catherynne M Valente. 4 stars. Novella. A retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses in prohibition-era New York City. That would also describe Genevieve Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, but in practice, the two books are very different.
    3. Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland’s Glory, by Lisa Jardine. 3 stars. It discusses the very close ties between England and Holland in the 1600’s and how that affected history. As you may or may not know James II of England was making moves to take England back to Catholicism. The vast majority of the English population strongly objected. James’ daughter Mary was married to William of Orange, a protestant Hollander, and William invaded England in 1680? with the encouragement of the English people and overthrew James. James’s infant son, Charles, AKA Bonnie Prince Charlie, was cut out of the succession. This book discusses the English/ Dutch relationship in the years leading up to the Glorious Revolution. I found it interesting but not compelling. Mount TBR book 11/12. Non-fiction book 10/12
    4. Hell and Earth, by Elizabeth Bear. 5 stars. As you may know, the books Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth are basically one long novel split into two parts. They were both published in 2008 and I read Ink and Steel, but never got Hell and Earth read. So this month, I re-read Ink and Steel to remind myself of what was going on, and then read Hell and Earth. I am reminded of why I love Elizabeth Bear’s books. These two are definitely my favorite of the Promethean Age books. Mount TBR book 12/12.
    5. The Mermaids Singing, by Val McDermid. 4 stars. Mount TBR book 13/12
    6. A Place of Execution, by Val McDermid. 4 stars. I bought these two books years ago on Elizabeth Bear’s recommendation. They are thrillers/mysteries and can be pretty gruesome, though I did enjoy reading them. Mount TBR book 14/12.
    7. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie King. 4 stars
    8. A Monstrous Regiment of Women, by Laurie King. 4 stars.
    9. A Letter of Mary, by Laurie King. 4 stars. These are the first three Mary Russell books. Sherlock Holmes in retirement in Sussex is befriended by the teenage Mary Russell. These books read like really excellent Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction, which is great as far as I am concerned.
    10. All Fall Down, by Jennifer Weiner. 3 stars. Read for my local book club. A woman in an unhappy marriage starts using narcotic pain meds to help her cope. The first half of the book is about her life spiralling out of control and the second half is about rehab, etc.
    11. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. 4 stars. Highly enjoyable space opera with great characters. The engineer strongly reminds me of Kaylee from Firefly, if that is a recommendation.
    12. Miss Marvel: No Normal, by G Willow Wilson. 4 stars. Graphic novel.

    Re-reads:

    1. The Will of the Empress, by Tamora Pierce. 4 stars. Read for Mark Reads.
    2. The Fault in our Stars, by John Green. 5 stars. Read for my UU bookclub.
    3. Penric’s Demon, by Lois McMaster Bujold. 4 stars. Novella.
    4. Ink and Steel, by Elizabeth Bear. 5 stars.
    5. Shoggoths in Bloom, by Elizabeth Bear. 5 stars. Collection of short stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BOO to your Kindle getting stolen!

      Coincidentally, I’m currently reading Dark Places, and I’ll probably read Ancillary Mercy next since I have the book pre-ordered.

      I’m very interested in the Chambers, have the Valente in my TBR, and love me some Ms. Marvel. I’ve also got that Bujold on my Kindle, and love the John Green.

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  3. I’ve been busy lately with writing and working on my YouTube channel (which involves playing a lot of video games due to the nature of the thing), so I haven’t been reading or watching TV much.

    I did finally get around to reading the third Eden Moore book, though, and I think it’s probably my favorite of the series. I also re-read The Deathly Hallows because it occurred to me I’d only read it once when it first came out, and after re-reading the thing, I think it was actually better than I remembered it.

    Also, I read Maplecroft, which I enjoyed, although I kind of feel like it’s an acquired taste, and you kind of have to have at least a passing knowledge of HP Lovecraft’s mythos to “get” it. That said, I have yet to read anything by Cherie Priest that I didn’t enjoy.

    And, continuing the theme of “Historical Figure with an Axe,” I’ve started reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I love the concept, and I like the faux-historical tone, but as soon as he actually started getting into politics I kind of lost interest, which is weird, considering that usually Abraham Lincoln is a fascinating person even when he isn’t hunting the undead (aka in real life). I do appreciate the book’s blend of real historical fact and fiction, though, which is something I also liked in Maplecroft.

    I’ve actually spent a good bit of time lately playing Resident Evil HD. It’s kind of a long story, but to make it short, I always wanted to play the original game but never could because we didn’t own a Playstation, so when the remastered version came out on Steam, I jumped at the chance to finally be able to play it. And then I decided it would be a fun thing to do for Halloween to record myself playing through it for the first time and put it up on YouTube for people to laugh at my incompetence as a zombie hunter. Once I’m done with that, though, I’d like to set aside some more time for reading.

    Oh, while I’m here, I got a notification that you had a birthday recently, so hey, Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the same trouble with MAPLECROFT, but because it’s Cherie Priest, I still picked up the sequel. I haven’t read EVERYTHING Priest has written, but it’s pretty darn close. I’ll catch up one day!

      Oh, and yes, my birthday was Tuesday the 27th. Thank you!

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      1. I think the fact that I’ve read Lovecraft kind of helped increase my appreciation of Maplecroft. In fact, my mom decided she wanted to read it, too, and I actually suggested that she read a few of Lovecraft’s stories (or at the very least, “Shadow Over Innsmouth,” which I think is probably his best), just to get an idea of the general tone, before she started it.

        Actually, I think my biggest problem with it may have stemmed from the fact that I never really found Lovecraft’s stuff that scary to begin with, but in some ways I think Cherie Priest actually beat him at his own game, so to speak. The fact that in Maplecroft, on some level the real threat comes from within, from the people you’re closest to, and not just from the alien “other,” was a massive improvement over Lovecraft, in my opinion.

        And I still need to catch up with her Clockwork Century books. I own three of them, but I’ve only read Boneshaker so far.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that’s some of the best way to do horror. Paul Tremblay uses that to wonderful effect in A Head Full of Ghosts: where the horror is in the question of which is more terrifying: what people think is happening (external forces), or what might be happening within (within ourselves and those closest to us).

          I’ve got the final two Clockwork Century books to catch up on. I’m so behind!

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